Don't Miss On the wall to the left of the main doorway is an inscription in 95 vertical columns recording the completion of the temple by Ramses II. The reliefs depict Ramses in the presence of various deities. Look up to the one scene adjoining the doorway, which shows him presenting an image of the goddess Maat to the triad of Osiris, Isis, and Seti I (here taking the place of Horus).
A sacred barque, holding the image of each particular deity would have originally stood in each sanctuary. The roofs of each chamber are decorated with stars and the names of Seti I, while the walls are covered with colorful reliefs depicting the ceremonies, which took place in the chapels.
Don't Miss: In the King's Sanctuary look to the left-hand wall to see some of the best-preserved reliefs. On the lower row, from left to right, are scenes depicting three falcon-headed and three dog-headed gods bearing the King into the chapel, preceded by a priest (with the side lock of youth and a panther skin) offering incense. The reliefs then show the King seated on a throne at a banquet, with his guardian spirit behind him and the ibis headed god Thoth in front of him.
The reliefs inside the Sanctuary of Amun are also noteworthy for their well-preserved colors. Here, Seti I is depicted offering sacrifices to Amun in his various forms and burning incense before the sacred barques of Amun.
Temple South Wing
Don't Miss: By far the most important feature of the south wing is the Gallery of the Kings, a long and gradually rising corridor, which is entered from the Second Hypostyle Hall. On the right hand wall of the Gallery of the Kings is the famous Abydos King List, which has yielded important information on the sequence of Egyptian rulers. It depicts Seti I with a censer and the Crown Prince, later Ramses II (with the side lock of youth), who is reciting hymns from a papyrus roll. They are revering their royal ancestors, 76 of whom are listed in the two upper rows. The list begins with the first King of Egypt, Menes, and continues to Seti. The names of unimportant or illegitimate rulers are omitted.
Abydos History: Ancient Egypt's Most Important Necropolis
As far back as the Old Kingdom, the cult of Osiris, which originated in the Delta, had managed to gain a foothold at Abydos; with the nearby hill of Umm el-Gaab believed to be Osiris' tomb, and so it's not surprising that Abydos' temples became a vortex for the cult of Osiris.
Several kings of the Middle Kingdom as well as wealthy private citizens erected cenotaphs or stelae here, for to the pious Egyptian, there was no greater bliss than to be buried beside the Tomb of Osiris, or failing this, to have his mummy brought temporarily to Abydos to receive the desired consecration, or at the very least, to recommend himself to the favor of Osiris, lord of the Underworld, by the erection of a cenotaph or a memorial stone. In the mystery plays performed annually at Abydos in honor of Osiris, the eternal terrestrial cycle of death and rebirth was celebrated. Osiris' sister and wife Isis, their son Horus and, under the New Kingdom, Ptah, Re-Harakhty, and Amun were also worshiped here.
Around the Temple of Seti I
Southwest of the Temple of Seti I, you find the large structure known as the Osireion. Often taken for the Tomb of Osiris, it is, in reality, a cenotaph of Seti I, closely associated with the main temple. It was discovered in 1903 by Margaret A. Murray and excavated between 1911 and 1926 by the Egypt Exploration Society under the direction of E Naville and Dr Frankfort. The building, originally covered by an artificial mound and surrounded by trees, was erected by Seti I, but remained unfinished. Later, some rooms were decorated with religious scenes and inscriptions by Merneptah. The main structure is built of white limestone and reddish sandstone, red granite being used only for the pillars and roof of the main hall and some of the doorways.
Temple of Ramses II
The temple was much more sumptuous and more carefully built than any of the other buildings of Ramses II known to us. It was constructed of fine grained limestone, with red and black granite for the doorways, sandstone for the columns and alabaster for the innermost sanctuary. The mural decorations are in delicate low relief with some of the best preserved paintings in the first court depicting a sacrificial procession. The reliefs on the outside of the temple (north and west sides), worked in fine white limestone, are among the finest produced in the reign of Ramses II and depict scenes from the King's war against the Hittites
Northwest of Ramses II's temple are the ruins of Shunet el-Zebib surrounded by an outer and an inner wall of sun dried brick. The complex probably dates from the second Dynasty and may have been a palace.
Ancient City Remains
A few hundred yards northeast of Shunet el-Zebib, near the village of El-Khirba, are the remains of the ancient city of Abydos and the Sanctuary of Osiris, which dates back to the beginnings of Egyptian history. Of the sanctuary, there remains only the brick enclosure walls built during the Middle Kingdom and scanty remains of the temple.
Tips and Tactics - Getting the Most Out of Your Visit to the Temples of Abydos
- Timing: The earlier you can get here, the better. Try for right on opening time at 8am to have the temple complex completely to yourself.
- Staying the Night: The modern village of Abydos has a couple of extremely basic hotels if you really want to extend your time at the temples, but most tourists come here as part of a day trip from Luxor, which has a better range of accommodation.
- Combine a trip here with a visit to the Temple of Dendara at Qena.
- By Private Taxi: Trips to Abydos Temple Complex are easily arranged in Luxor. Traveling this way means you can set your own itinerary, useful if you want to explore other attractions north of Luxor.
- By Tour Bus: Most hotels and travel agencies in Luxor offer coach trips to Abydos. Remember that if you decide to travel this way, you'll most likely be part of a large group.
-- Sent from my Linux system.
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